No 12 Carácas
6th May 1891
My dear Mother,
In my No 11, by last Royal Mail, I promised to write again by following American Steamer leaving today, which promise I have not been able to keep, but there is a French boat leaving tomorrow which will only be a couple of days behind the New York mail, so I shall almost redeem my undertaking. But as it is after 11 p.m. already you must not be surprised if my letter reads sleepily. I have been running about this afternoon, with the thermometer at butter-melting point, & have talked & listened to a lot of “gas” – all in the interests of business.
After dinner I had to pay a visit & relate my travel’s history to four pretty girls; – all of which is very fatiguing, though I am not unconscious of the high privilege of having such a fair audience.
Since sending my last I have recvd. your welcome letter of 12th April, but the two March letters are still missing.
Father will remember giving me the address of a young engineer called Bartels, a protégé of Aunt Emma’s. On enquiry I found he was working at a place called El Tigrito, distant some four hours’ journey by rail & mule from Caracas. I sent him a card, asking him to look me up should he come to the “Capital” during my stay. The following Sunday he came up expressly to call on me, & not finding me at home he waited till Monday. He seemed pleased to see me & paid me a long visit on Monday morning. I asked him to lunch with me & we had quite a long chat, during which he spoke very gratefully & affectionately of Aunt Emma. He seems a nice fellow; – works hard & takes great interest in his profession. He does not put much money to the good at present, but when his contract is ended with the Company, in another year & a half, he hopes to go in for the more lucrative branch of sub-contracting.
He intends sending Aunt Emma some photographs, which he has taken himself, of his surroundings at Tigrito, & he has also promised to send me some before I leave.
I shall be glad if Father will communicate this part of my letter to Aunt Emma.
I also made the acquaintance, the other day, of two young men called Letts, from Chile, who curious to say, are cousins of Prof. Letts.
The reason I was not to be found on Sunday was that I had accepted an invitation to lunch at Mr & Mrs Eraso’s country house, a short distance out of town. Mr Luis Eraso is a young man, partner in one of the leading firms here, educated at Oxford or Cambridge – I forget which, though he does not for he wears the arms of his college prominently on his gardening cap. In spite of that & one or two other little weaknesses in the direction of Anglo-mania he is a very nice fellow, & his wife, daughter of a former English minister to Bogotá, is an exceptionally nice woman. There were about a dozen people present, all of whom spoke English; the luncheon was excellent & the conversation interesting, & altogether we spent four hours in the most pleasant manner. The house is large & tastefully furnished & the extensive grounds, – almost a Park – planted to advantage with orange-trees, bamboos, & avenues of mangoes.
After a cup of tea at four o’clock we walked back into town through the cool shade of a fine coffee plantation.
7th May 6.15 a.m. I cannot resist noting the hour. You see the first worm runs a poor chance with me. But to be honest, I should still be in bed, had not that relentless ebony porter, Mr Santana, insisted on my turning out to receive a message about those photographs.
I hope to move on in a few days. Please address
c/o Da Costa Co Barbados
- This is Emma Löwenthal, Julius’ older sister in Ludwigslust – never married – born and died there (b 1831, d 1913). There were many Bart(h)els in Ludwigslust. Hard to know who her protégé was and what business he was doing in Venezuela. ↵
- Probably El Tigrito, Miranda, some 42 km away. ↵
- Edmund Algert Letts (b 27th August 1852, d 19th February 1918) was Professor of Chemistry at Queens College, Belfast 1879-1917: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._A._Letts ↵
- Luis Eraso, Merchant, (b~1855 Caracas, d Caracas 1899). He married Helen Baldock Bunch (b ~ 1855 in NYC). ↵